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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 24, 2012


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on September 24, 2012.

Q: Japan's Ground Self-Defense Forces and the US Marine Corps recently conducted a joint drill on the island of Guam, aiming for the first time at enhancing the ability to regain control of remote islands. What is China's comment?

A: We noted relevant reports. It is hoped that relevant parties can bear in mind regional peace and stability and do more to boost political and security mutual trust and uphold regional peace and stability. We also hope that Japan can draw a lesson from history and remain committed to the path of peaceful development.

Q: It is reported that Chikao Kawai, Vice Foreign Minister of Japan, will visit Beijing on September 24 and 25. He is going to have consultations with leading officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Please confirm.

A: At the request of the Japanese side, China agrees with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai's visit to China on September 24 and 25 for consultation with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun on current China-Japan relations, and on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands in particular. During the consultation, China will state its solemn position on the Diaoyu Islands issue and require Japan to correct mistakes and make its due efforts for the improvement of China-Japan relations.

Q: A number of fishing boats from Taiwan are now sailing to the Diaoyu Islands. Will Chinese maritime surveillance ships offer assistance if the fishing boats are intercepted by Japan? Taiwan authorities said recently that it would never join hands with the Mainland to cope with the Diaoyu Islands issue. What is China's comment?

A: The Chinese government has unbreakable will and resolve in defending national territorial sovereignty. Chinese maritime surveillance ships have conducted and will continue to conduct patrol and law-enforcement in waters off the Diaoyu Islands to exercise jurisdiction.

The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. Putting national honor first, compatriots across the Straits should work in unison to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and maintain the overall and fundamental interests of the Chinese nation in their own ways.

Q: First, How do you comment on China's postponing of the reception commemorating the 40th anniversary of normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties scheduled on September 27? Second, China Customs stepped up inspection of imports from and exports to Japan. Is it part of the so-called economic sanctions? Experts are concerned that economic sanctions will exert negative impact on Chinese and Japanese economies. What is China's comment? Third, media reports say that Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers will meet on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly. Please confirm.

A: On the first question, it is learned that the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and China-Japan Friendship Association have decided to reschedule the activities commemorating the 40th anniversary of normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties to an appropriate date.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties and should have been a year of opportunity for the two sides to push forward bilateral relations. The Japanese government insisted on illegally "purchasing" the Diaoyu Islands, which grossly violates China's territorial sovereignty, offends the Chinese people and severely undermines China-Japan relations. The Japanese side should bear responsibility for all the consequences.

On the second question, I haven't heard of the situation you mentioned. It needs to be pointed out that China-Japan business cooperation serves the interests of both countries. Japan's illegal "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands affects and harms the normal development of China-Japan business relations. This is something we do not want to see. The Japanese side should bear full responsibility for that.

Japan should stop all acts that are detrimental to China's territorial sovereignty, return to the track of negotiated settlement of the dispute, and create favorable conditions for China-Japan relations and cooperation in all fields.

On the third question, I am not aware of such arrangement.

Q: It is reported that several members of the Syrian National Coordination Body for Democratic Change, an opposition group, were arrested by Syrian security forces after returning to Syria from their visit to China. What is China's comment?

A: China noted relevant report and hopes that the truth can be found out through investigation as soon as possible.

Q: Please brief us on the talks between Chinese leader Zhou Yongkang and Afghan President Karzai.

A: Zhou Yongkang, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and Secretary of the Political and Legislative Committee of the CPC Central Committee, visited Afghanistan and held talks with Afghan President Karzai on September 22.

Zhou Yongkang pointed out that Afghanistan is China's friendly neighbour. This year is an important year in the annals of China-Afghanistan relations. Last June, the heads of state of the two countries decided to elevate China-Afghanistan relations to strategic and cooperative partnership, opening a new chapter for China-Afghanistan relations. China hopes that the two sides can make joint efforts to push bilateral cooperation to a new high, which will better benefit the two peoples and contribute to regional prosperity and stability.

Zhou Yongkang said that it is a top diplomatic priority of China to strengthen good-neighbourly and friendly relations with surrounding countries. Afghanistan is now at a crucial transition period. As a responsible big country, China is ready to make its due contribution to peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. Within its ability, China will continue to provide sincere and selfless assistance to Afghanistan with no strings attached. We sincerely hope that the Afghan people will regain peace at an early date and rebuild their home in peace.

Zhou Yongkang said that business cooperation is an important part of bilateral relations. China will continue to encourage Chinese companies to make investment and set up businesses in Afghanistan and enhance cooperation in such fields as business, trade, project contracting, development of resources, agriculture and infrastructure development.

Zhou Yongkang said that China firmly supports Afghanistan's efforts to counter terrorism and maintain national security and is willing to provide help within its ability to improve Afghanistan's security capacity-building. The two sides can engage in cooperation in non-traditional security fields such as counter-terrorism, narcotics control and law-enforcement through the platform of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

President Karzai said that Afghanistan sincerely appreciates China's long-time valuable support and selfless aid and welcomes and looks forward to China's bigger role in the peaceful development of Afghanistan and the region. Afghanistan welcomes Chinese companies to expand investment in the country and will do its utmost to protect the safety of Chinese projects and nationals.

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